Running Late designed by Maurizio Fusillo from the Noun Project

Running Late designed by Maurizio Fusillo from the Noun Project

If we’re running behind all the time, it’s likely not because of traffic. Or being “swamped.” It probably thanks to our unrealistic perspective on how long things take. Fast Company shares what separates the chronically late from the always punctual. Our favorite piece of advice? Learn to chill:

Being punctual often means getting to meeting or an appointment early. Punctual people use the extra five or 10 minutes as a chance to catch up on emails, read over notes, or simply enjoy the solitude. Chronically late people, however, hate downtime. They enjoy the thrill of that last-minute sprint to the finish line and crave stimulation. To be more comfortable with downtime, bring along something to fill those spare moments.

Reminds us of one of our favorite sayings of hard-nosed coaches, bosses, and managers: “If you’re early you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late you are only thinking of yourself.”

Read the rest of the story here.

  • JP Starra

    I’ve never looked at it this way, but this makes a lot of sense! Thanks for the insight

  • tseib

    What about the possibility that people in corporate settings are late to meetings in direct proportion to their anticipation of how worthless and pointless the meeting will be, based on past experience with the organizer/group/subject matter?

  • notpunctual

    Such a Protestant way of looking at things…

  • clock watcher

    I always plan to arrive a little early. Something always happens and I end up arriving on time.
    I think people who are late are either disorganised or don’t feel the other party’s time is as important as theirs.

  • Robyn McIntyre

    I agree with Marne; this seems too broad. I’m often late for appointments and I’ve found it’s because when I’m involved in a task – whatever it is – I tend to give it my full attention. For me this often means I stop noticing the passage of time and am often shocked at how much time has passed while I wasn’t noticing. I have to be extremely mindful not to get caught up in things. I detest having to rush to get somewhere. Oddly, I’m seldom late for early morning appointments because I’m a night owl and early mornings are NOT my best thing, so I freak out about them more and tend to wake up before my alarm goes off.

  • Efforting Extra

    Another consideration is that a person who is chronically late may suffer from ADHD. In such cases, one’s sense of time is not always in sync with “reality”. The wiring is just different. Beyond the common tendency to lose myself in a state of hyper-focus (finally looking at the clock to find that what felt like 20 minutes was actually 2 hours!) I struggle to accurately determine the length of time a future task will take. Add that to the general disorganization that plagues the typical ADHD-er and WHEW, it’s a wonder I ever make it anywhere I’m supposed to be at all!

    I am IN NO WAY suggesting that it is a legitimate excuse, far from that. I just think it’s important to consider that it’s not always as simple as this article suggests. I hate being late. It’s embarrassing and comes off as rude and disrespectful. It IS rude. However, there are times when the extra effort required to not be late is too much to manage and I miss the mark. Yes, I’m sincerely sorry, but also, all things considered… it’s not the end of the world.

  • Caring Requires Effort

    It sounds like you’re saying there is no excuse for it while conveniently excusing yourself with a diagnosis. More than one variety of ADHD fits with what the author is giving as reasons people are chronically late: ” hate downtime…crave stimulation…etc.” Knowing that you have ADHD tendencies is all you need to fix the problem.

    If you know enough to explain why you are chronically late, then you know enough to fix your issues using a variety of external tools, like setting alarms or calendar alerts. With a smart phone in your pocket or purse, there really is no excuse for being late. And the effort, if you really did care, is trivial these days.

    You obviously don’t think it’s rude enough or care enough to make the rather small effort it takes to respect the time of others. If you really HATE being late, you would do something about it. Real caring requires effort. Go figure.

    • Bruce Denham

      Well said. Bravo!

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